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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 10 (2) 2012

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J. Fleisher, S. Wynne-Jones, C. Steele & K. Welham

Geophysical Survey at Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 10 (2), 2012, pages 207-220, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10220

Abstract
Geophysical survey at Kilwa Kisiwani, southern Tanzania, has recovered evidence for several aspects of town layout and the use of space within the town that enhance our understandings of this important Swahili site. Although excavations in the 1960s recovered substantial monuments at this stonetown and traced a chronology for the development of the site from the eighth to the sixteenth centuries AD, the overall site layout has remained poorly understood. This paper outlines the possibilities that geophysics creates for positioning the excavations within a broader urban landscape, and reports on a preliminary season of survey at Kilwa. Two areas were the focus of fieldwork during 2011. First the main town centre was surveyed, and the results suggest a denser town plan of coral-built houses that have subsequently been robbed. Second, the enigmatic enclosure of Husuni Ndogo was explored, and revealed evidence for activity relating to metalworking in this monumental space.

Résumé
Un relevé géophysique éxécuté à Kilwa Kisiwani, au Sud de la Tanzanie, met en évidence certains aspects du plan de la ville et de l'utilisation de l'espace à l'intérieur de la ville, ce qui nous permet de mieux comprendre cet important site Swahili. Bien que les fouilles réalisées pendant les années 60 aient permis de retrouver des monuments importants dans cette ville de pierre et de retracer une chronologie du développement du site à partir du huitième siècle jusqu'au seizième siècle après J-C, l'ensemble du plan du site reste mal compris. Cet article donne un aperçu des possibilités offertes par la géophysique pour choisir l'emplacement des excavations dans un paysage urbain plus large et rend compte d'une saison préliminaire d'études géophysiques à Kilwa. Le travail sur le terrain s'est concentré sur deux zones pendant l'année 2011. Le centre-ville principal, tout d'abord, a été l'objet d'une étude topographique et les résultats suggèrent un plan de ville plus dense, composé de maisons construites en corail qui ont été ultérieurement cambriolées. Puis, l'enceinte énigmatique de Husuni Ndogo a été explorée, l'espace monumental témoignant d'une activité
métallurgique.




Keywords: coral architecture, Kilwa, Kilwa Kisiwani, magnetometry, spatial organization, Swahili, urban space


© Copyright: Africa Magna Verlag 2011
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